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437 Fate Of Cursed Ones Final Par

    "No, you can't ask us," The middle-aged woman replied instead of her partner. "Now, get us our new daughter."

    "Ah... yes," The man in charge didn't dare offend her.

    He quickly cleared the formalities and brought Ashlyn to the office room where the pair was waiting.

    As Ashlyn stepped into the room, the middle-aged woman broke into a smile and crouched in front of her.

    "Hansen, God has finally blessed us with a daughter!" The woman said to the middle-aged man as she took Ashlyn into her arms.

    Ashlyn was stunned. She found herself into a warm embrace of a woman she has never known. Her young mind was shocked but her heart melted.

    "Child, you are our daughter," The middle-aged man named Hansen also crouched down and joined the hug. "The daughter Stina and I have been trying to have for decades."

    Stina agreed and tears formed in her eyes.

    "You would accept as your parents, right?" Stina asked as 'tears of happiness' streamed down her face.

    Ashlyn was confused but nodded her head.

    She has heard in the orphanage that good children were 'adopted' by new parents. She didn't know what that meant, but from what little she heard from the staff, it was a very good thing. And she felt it must be good as well after how she was embraced.

    "We are happy!" Stina and Hansen hugged her again.

    "What the hell is going on?!" The orphanage in charge was shocked by the tears. His eyes then turned wide as he noticed artificial teardrops bottle in the back pocket of Stina.

    Under the bewildered look of the orphanage in charge, Ashlyn's new adopted parents took her away...

    Ashlyn was both afraid and excited as they took her into a new home...

    "Welcome to your home," Stina said with a smile.

    Ashlyn lifted her head and looked at her new home.

    It was a big mansion in the back of Hex city. It was grand and luxurious; protected by drones and droids.

    ...

    An hour later, Ashlyn was sitting in the dining room. She sat next to her parents as servants served them soup.

    "Drink it, child," Stina personally fed Ashlyn soup.

    Ashlyn teared up and happily drank the soup. This was the happiest day of her life.

    She was being given such care despite her being an untouchable from a year or so.

    "Thank you, mom," Ashlyn thanked her.

    Stina smiled and then made her eat a lavish meal.

    Two hours later, Stina and Hansen took her to her bedroom and made her sleep. She slept with a big smile on her face.

    Stina switched off the lights and closed the door.

    "This would take time but it would definitely work," Hansen said as Stina arrived in the corridor.

    "Yes, she has very good potential," Stina replied while snapping her fingers. "No, she has the best potential I have ever seen in a Cursed One... She should be called a Blessed One after we are done!"

    A digital screen popped in front of her. The screen projected a medical report of Ashlyn. The report was fully detailed on the cellular and genetical level.

    🧬

    "Her cursed state has untapped power; as vast as an ocean," Stina's eyes glinted brightly. "She would definitely be a success"

    "Obviously," Hansen nodded while glancing at the closed bedroom. "But we need to make sure she completly submit to us, on her own."

    "She will," Stina said with confidence. "You already know that."

    Hansen grinned in response.

    The mind of a child was like a plain canvas.

    What would be drawn on a canvas, and with what features, was something that entirely depended on the painter; if the painter knew the true art of painting.

    The same went for the art of conditioning, or in this case, brainwashing.

    The young mind was susceptible to any principles, no matter how outlandish.

    "Religion, beliefs, personality, and morals were something that one acquired at a young age," Stina muttered.

    They depended on the interaction with the environment, and the environment consisted of both living and non-living...

    "The first step is making a grand impression," Hansen thought, his eyes flashing coldly. "Humans, especially younger ones, are more prone to grand impressions."

    A man in a calamity would never forget the one who saved him from certain death. A thirsty man in a desert wouldn't forget the taste of one sip of water given to him by another person... he would be forever grateful.

    In ancient times, royalty understood the importance of grand impressions, and they used it to inspire loyalty and fear in the masses.

    Whenever lightning struck or a seeming supernatural phenomenon occurred, the royalty would announce the birth of an heir.

    In truth, the so-called heir was born months, or sometimes, even years ago...but this information would be hidden and only revealed at the right time. Because grand impressions could manage the fate of a kingdom.

    The commoners would believe the heir was blessed by the gods. Otherwise, why would he be born at the same time as terrifying lightning struck or supernatural phenomenon occurred?

    The fear of the unknown would work with a grand impression to secure the crown from potential rebellions. This was how the tales of kings being born with supernatural phenomenon spread around the globe.

    Back then, people were superstitious and the scope of both science and communications were limited, so it was easy to fool.

    In the present era where technology has advanced, it was hard to use ancient styles.

    It wasn't impossible to create grand impressions though...

    What does a child want?

    Food, love, and care.

    Take any one component away for a long time, and give it back... the child would appreciate it like never before.

    Make a child experience cold and she would beg to have warmth.

    Make a child feel solitude and despair...and she would pray for company and hope.

    ...

    Ashlyn was happy. Her new parents took great care of her and gave love she has never received.

    She was grateful to them and never acted like a spoilt child.

    As days passed, she would often see her parents signing big checks to help poor and orphan children. She even saw her providing aid to deformed people without any bias.

    They didn't discriminate at all, unlike the servants who were wary of her due to her background. They didn't openly show any disgust, but she could see it in their eyes.

    This was especially true when she tried to play with their kids staying in servant quarters.

    Whenever she went to play with their kids, they would take away their kids and shut the doors on her face. Soon, even the kids began to back away on their own like she was untouchable.

    She cried, but with time, she grew used to this setback. Her adopted parents were there for her...

    A year and a half later, she was going to the kitchen and about to open the door when she

    'accidentally eavesdropped'

    a conversation between two servants.

    "Master and mistress are really troubled from last few weeks," A female servant said with a sad look.

    "Yes," The other servant, male, agreed. "They want to help the needy people of the world but there is no one to help them."

    "If I could, I would have helped them," The female servant clenched her fists. "If only I was a Cursed One, I could solve their trouble..."

    "Don't blame yourself," The male servant placed a hand on her arms and consoled her. "Being a Cursed One is bad luck, and while I know you want to help master and mistress, I don't think they would appreciate you having such thoughts."

    "I know," The female servant nodded.

    The servants then continued with other discussions...

    "Cursed One?" Ashlyn remembered the time she first heard this term. It was the day her fate changed...

    With time, she has learned that it was a bad thing and has a faint idea of why her birth parents tossed her away.

    "Mom and dad need the help of a Cursed One? But why aren't they asking me?"

    Ashlyn thought for a moment and then realized the answer. She was their child and they didn't want to burden her.

    "I have to help them, no matter what!" Ashlyn ran to her parents.

    Behind, the servants chuckled after she left.

    "So easy to fool an ignorant girl," The female servant said.

    "Well, she is ignorant because her source of information is limited," The male servant reasoned.

    "Even before she came here... she has only read, seen, and listened to what master and mistress wanted."

    Psychologically, the second step in brainwashing was molding the world view.

    ...

    "You want to do what?!" Stina asked Ashlyn.

    "Help you, mom!" Ashlyn answered; her cute face filled with determination. "I'm a Cursed One, and I know you need the help of someone like me."

    "Who told you that?!" Hansen was angered.

    "Honey, don't get angry," Stina calmed Hansen before turning towards Ashlyn. "Child, we don't really need your help."

    "Mom, don't lie!" Ashlyn broke up into tears and continued. "I know you are in need... so please allow me to help."

    She jumped into Stina's lap and sobbed. She has received so much from her parents, and she knew no one could ever return the love of parents, but she wanted to at least help them.

    "Child, we indeed need a Cursed One to help the world," Hansen rubbed his daughter's head and said. "But we can't take help from you."

    "Why?!" Ashlyn asked.

    "Because it is dangerous!" Stina answered and tried to make her daughter give up on her new resolve.

    "I don't mind!" Ashlyn persisted.

    Her parents finally budged after hours of her request. What she failed to notice were their suppressed grins...

    ***

    Ashlyn was taken to a high-tech genetic lab.

    "We would need to enhance you physically," Stina said as they arrived in the lab. "But it would be painful, and there is a chance you might even die."

    Ashlyn didn't say anything and walked towards a glass pod. The pod opened up and she stepped into it.

    Oxygen mask came out from the surface above and covered her face.

    ~clank~

    The pod closed and, from the surface below, crystalline jelly-like liquid swept out, filling the entire pod.

    Her face was filled with determination as the scientists in the lab started the procedure of enhancing her.

    What followed was a hell lot of pain and agony that was far more terrifying than death.

    Genetic experiments were painful even for mutants and ordinary humans, much less a Cursed One. This was because there was very little data on Cursed Ones, so experiments required more trial and error.

    She practically became a guinea pig...

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    "AHHHHHH!"

    Her cursed genes began streaming out power and she screamed with blood tears in her eyes. The scientists didn't stop, and they cuffed her on a table to start more heavy experiments.

    "St..op."

    Ashlyn begged but the scientists ignored her request. They reminded her she wanted this...for her parents.

    Ashlyn was helpless but she accepted, and the process continued.

    Three years passed, and in all this time, she was in the lab, injected with various serums. She ate more medicines than food and consumed liquid far bitter than any medicine.

    Finally, when the enhancement procedure was over, she was clad in a full-body black suit and given two discs.

    "Child, the process has been successful," Stina said with tears in her eyes.

    Ashlyn smiled faintly.

    "And now comes the hard part," Hansen added with a pained expression. "Training."

    "I'm ready," Ashlyn said, her voice plain.

    ...

    The training was as bad as the experiments she has undergone, if not worse. She was alone in the training unless mechanical droids counted or silent servants who only guided her.

    She was trained with no friends, relatives or anyone.

    Even her parents rarely met her, once in a month or so, and that too for minutes. But she didn't blame them. She knew they were busy with their mission to help the world.

    She rarely spoke because there was no one to speak with. She never made any friends because she rarely went out.

    Not like anyone would become a friend with a Cursed One...

    The training was such that she wished for a break but it was never given. Slowly, she got used to both pain and silence.

    In a way, she was in solitude, just like in the orphanage. But this time, it was for helping her parents, so she wasn't engulfed with despair like before.

    The training went for over a decade. All the time, she wasn't living but simply existing...

    She didn't know it, but life so far would shape her personality.

    Silent, cold, aloof, and also naive.

    It would give her expressionless, poker but cold face.

    ***

    After the training, on the commands of her parents, she visited Hex City many times.

    She was gorgeous with spellbinding features. She naturally attracted attention but not in the way she wanted.

    Maybe the servants or someone had spread gossips about her Cursed status, so the people she ignored found ways to make her pariah.

    This was despite the fact that she was taking regular medicines to ensure the aura unique to Cursed Ones wouldn't harm anyone.

    Prejudices were not something that could be removed...

    Ashlyn didn't mind. She was used to silence and solitude.

    A few times, she was sent to missions of killing certain people. Her training and conditioning ensured she did what was requested...

    She never asked any questions because she 'knew' her parents would never ask her to do anything wrong. They loved her even though they rarely met her now...

    A few years later, her parents called her into their study room.

    "Ashlyn, we are proud of you," Stina and Hansen said in unison.

    Ashlyn listened to their words and didn't reply.

    "The world is filled with unfairness," Hansen said, his voice pained. "The majority decides everything in this world at the cost of the weak minority."

    "You are the best example of this, my child," Stina said with a bitter expression. "Your birth parents discarded because of the worldview created by the majority... The Cursed Ones are not accepted as humans!"

    "Just like you, there are countless in worse conditions," Hansen added, his expression downcast. "But since you and others are in minority, the majority would never care... the world would never change. People will continue to treat fellow humans like inferior species."

    "?" Ashlyn looked at him.

    She understood they wanted to say about a method that could change the world.

    "The only way for the world to change is by the majority to experience what the minority has felt from ages," Hansen explained, his eyes momentarily flashing with malice. "Powerlessness and feeling of being cursed."

    "And to help us achieve that, we need you to enter into the core region of Desolate Blood Forest," Stina concluded.

    Ashlyn gave a slight nod.

    Her adopted parents smiled and gave her a mission file.

    "Complete this mission and the day of equality would be near," Stina lovingly rubbed Ashlyn's head.

    🔯🔯🔯🔯

    In the present, Ashlyn opened her eyes. She wiped the traces of blood from her lips and jumped on her feet.

    ~crackle~

    The fragments of destroyed robots crackled with electricity as she stepped above them.

    A minute later, she left the corridor and walked into a chamber guarded by a force field. The discs on her wrists rotated at a high speed and shot out with a buzzing sound.

    As the discs crashed on the force field, brilliant sparks emitted out. She loved at the dazzling sparks in the air and thought of the man who has created sparks in her life.

    Kiba

    .

    In the starting years of her life, she missed her biological parents. When the experiments and training started, she missed her adopted parents.

    Now that she was on a mission given to her by her adopted parents, she missed Kiba.

    A shameless sadistic borderline villain.

    He was unique, his character unpredictable, but the reason she missed him at this moment was of his one principle.

    "Enjoy your life, no matter the situation."

    Even in the most terrible situation, he would live his life to the fullest, and he was completly unapologetic about that.

    Like in a battle, he would create happiness for himself by torturing his opponents and satisfying his sadistic nature.

    She also missed him because he was a good teacher. His first lesson helped her in creating Nutcracking Art.

    As she thought of him, a puzzled expression came on her face.

    She recalled a specific scene when an alien serpent fought with her and Kiba. She has sliced the serpent's lower half so it was really angry with her.

    "Girl, I'm going to eat you!" The serpent has said to her due to her actions.

    "Stop daydreaming, idiot," Kiba has retorted. "I have wanted to eat her from the first time I saw her, but so far it has just been a pipe dream."

    Back then, both Ashlyn and the serpent were caught off-guard by his statement. Neither of them could understand what he meant.

    So, after the fight, she asked him what he meant.

    She remembered he has a strange look on his face. Unless her eyes were defective, she was sure she saw him sweating.

    He has given an explanation, but now that she thought of it, she has a feeling he was lying.

    BANG

    The force field crumbled down and airwaves swept out. Her hair danced under the airwaves and she made a grasping motion.

    The discs arced in the air and returned to her.

    The destruction of the force field has disturbed her thoughts. And now, as she saw the path ahead, she recalled the last meeting with him.

    He has promised to meet her again; soon.

    A faint smile formed on her lips and she stepped forward...
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